For once we all felt, Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi had turned into Hogwarts and we were being catered to some serious display of wizardry. How else can one summarise the spectacle that unfolded before us today! Kolkata eked out a win against Kings XI Punjab in Match No. 24 of the Dream XI IPL 2020 not only by two runs but also by a few millimetres. Glenn Maxwell swung his bat hard at the last ball, needing a six to equalise the scores, and just when we thought it was going into the super over, the ball landed a few millimetres inside the rope. Phew!
Umpire Chris Gaffeney must receive a special award for his eyesight. When all of us had to rub our eyes again and again to figure out if it was over the line, he didn’t even go upstairs initially and immediately signalled a boundary!
What we saw on Saturday was nothing less than a miracle. Punjab were cruising at one point, needing just 29 runs off 24 balls with 9 wickets in hand. Mayank Agarwal (56 off 39) and skipper KL Rahul looked at ease and posted 115 runs for the first wicket. The turnaround came when Nicholas Pooran (16 off 10) played an unnecessary shot only to be castled by the magician Sunil ‘Dumbledore’ Narine in the 18th over. He not only picked up the wicket but also conceded just 2 runs off the over to push KXIP on the backfoot. Captain Rahul was beholding the craftmanship of Narine from the non-striker’s end as the new entrant Prabhsimran Singh struggled to cope with the pressure. Prasidh Krishna (3/29), who was playing his first match this season, effected a double whammy on KXIP in the next over as he sent back Prabhsimran (4) as well as the well-set Rahul for 74 runs (58 balls). Needing 14 runs off the last over, KXIP still had their hopes intact as Maxwell was in the middle. But Narine (2/28) kept his calm and bowled a clinical over to fetch us our 4th win.
“The way Rahul and Mayank batted, we thought we needed to do something really special to come back into the game. Prasidh is special. The way he came back and bowled in the second spell shows how good he is. Sunil Narine stands up for us a lot of time. He is calm. He is always looking to find the best way to contribute to the team. Not only Sunil, a lot of credit needs to be given to Morgan and McCullum. I am very lucky to have the world's best captain by results in my side,” said KKR captain Dinesh Karthik after the win.
Earlier, Kolkata won the toss and batted first to post 164/6. Karthik finally returned to form and led from the front with a breezy 29-ball 58. He took calculated risks and gave the Knight Riders some hope for a respectable total after a first-half crisis. In the first 10 overs, KKR were not even scoring at 6 RPO. But Karthik’s brisk knock instilled life into the KKR innings. Shubman Gill (57 off 47) provided him a strong support from the other end to help steer the team to a defendable total. It’s their 82-run partnership off 43 balls that eventually transformed a poor start into a satisfactory end.
For KXIP, the young Arshdeep Singh was absolutely brilliant with the ball. He received some help off the turf in the afternoon and utilised the conditions fully to plague the KKR top order with immaculate line, length and swing. His figures of 1/25 in 4 overs will certainly give him a lot of confidence going into the tournament.
After today’s win, KKR have now gone up to No. 3 in the points table and we hope the magic will sustain itself in the days to come as well until we pick up the IPL trophy for the third time. Korbo, lorbo, jeetbo!
KKR next play RCB on October 12 in Sharjah.